Zionism

   A term coined by Nathan Birnbaum in 1890 for the movement seeking the return of the Jewish people to Palestine. After 1896, Zionism referred to the political movement founded by Theodor Herzl seeking a Jewish national home in Palestine. The term is derived from a reference to Mount Zion, one of the hills of Jerusalem. Zion came to symbolize for the Jews their desire to return from exile to their homeland, as noted in at least as early as the Babylonian exile in the sixth century BC. Psalm 137 says, "By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion." Jewish prayer and tradition includes numerous references concerning "next year in Jerusalem" and the ultimate return of the Jews to the holy land, symbolized by Zion and Jerusalem. Jewish history is replete with instances of this concept of return to Zion. In the latter part of the 19th century, the eastern European movement that promoted settlement in the Land of Israel called itself Hibbat Zion (Love of Zion). The term Zionism was used for the first time in 1890 in a Hebrew periodical. Herzl adopted it to refer to his political movement that sought the return of the Jews to the holy land. Herzl established a political movement, the World Zionist Organization (WZO), which met in Basle, Switzerland, for the first time in 1897 with the stated objective of establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine where the Biblical Jewish state had been.
   While Zionism is the legitimate articulation of the Jewish people's right to national self-determination akin to the right to self-determination being expressed by a plethora of other national and subnational groups in the modern international system, Zionism has become the object of widespread scorn and ostracism. Anti-Zionis-tic sentiment, whether reflected in finely worded condemnatory statements and resolutions on the floor of the United Nations (UN) or shouted in hateful demonstrations, has become a vehicle for delegitimizing the state of Israel and is seen by some as vilifying the Jewish people in a new and more "politically correct" variation of anti-Semitism.
   On 10 November 1975, the UN General Assembly adopted UN General Assembly Resolution 3379, which inter alia "determines that Zionism is a form of racism and discrimination." The resolution was revoked on 16 December 1991 in the form of a cursory statement in the UN General Assembly. But, calls for the reinstatement of the "Zionism Is Racism" resolution are often centerpieces of broadly orchestrated international campaigns involving nongovernmental organizations, labor unions, and academics who condemn Israel.
   Notwithstanding such campaigns, Zionism's legitimacy is explicit and secure. Its cardinal principle—the existence of a sovereign Jewish state in the Land of Israel—is recognized, respected, and legitimized by the United States, Russia, European Union, UN, Group of Eight (G-8) industrial powers, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and other countries and international agencies. In addition, there are numerous Israeli and international Zionist organizations that support the legitimacy of Zionism and its cardinal principle. The 35th Zionist Congress of the WZO, representing Zionist organizations from Israel and Jewish communities throughout the world, met 19-22 June 2006 in Jerusalem. It will meet again in Jerusalem in 2010.
   See also Foreign Policy.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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  • Zionism — i on*ism, n. [Zion + ism.] Among the Jews, a theory, plan, or movement for colonizing their own race in Palestine, the land of Zion, or, if that is impracticable, elsewhere, either for religious or nationalizing purposes; called also {Zion… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • Zionism — ► NOUN ▪ a movement for the development and protection of a Jewish nation in Israel. DERIVATIVES Zionist noun & adjective …   English terms dictionary

  • Zionism — [zī′ə niz΄əm] n. a movement formerly for reestablishing, now for supporting, the Jewish national state of Israel Zionist n., adj. Zionistic adj …   English World dictionary

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  • Zionism — [[t]za͟ɪ͟ənɪzəm[/t]] N UNCOUNT Zionism is a movement which was originally concerned with establishing a political and religious state in Palestine for Jewish people, and is now concerned with the development of Israel …   English dictionary

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